Tests for prostate cancer:
- A digital rectal examination is one of the most critical methods of screening for prostate cancer, as the most common form of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma. This form of prostate cancer commonly occurs in the posterior portion of the prostate that is closest to the rectum.
- Another method of screening prostate cancer is a blood test called the PSA. Although there is much controversy surrounding the PSA blood test, early forms of prostate cancer are often detected when it is combined with a digital rectal examination.
When an individual is suspected of having prostate cancer, a prostate biopsy is usually performed under ultrasonic guidance. In addition to the traditional tests mentioned, there are a growing number of additional DNA studies (PTEN/ERG/Prolaris/OncoType Dx, etc.) that can be performed on the cancer specimen to potentially provide more information on the aggressiveness of the disease. Additional studies may also be indicated to determine the stage of the cancer as well as the potential treatment recommendations.
Treating Prostate Cancer
Management of prostate cancer is dependent on the information gathered from the biopsy as well as the staging studies that are performed. Your age and overall health will also determine the course of treatment.
Treatments for prostate cancer can include:
- Active surveillance: Regular office visits combined with blood tests and prostate exams as well as possible follow-up prostate biopsies
- Surgical removal of the prostate: robotic-assisted vs open procedures
- Radiation therapy: external beam radiation vs. brachytherapy
- Cryoablation therapy – focal or complete prostate treatment
- High-frequency ultrasound (HIFU)
- Hormonal therapy: medical castration vs. surgical castration
The good news is that the 5-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is nearly 100%. Ninety-eight percent (98%) are alive after 10 years. To have a good survival rate with prostate cancer, early detection is very important in managing and treating it.
While prostate problems are very common as men age, the most important takeaway for you is that they are often treatable. Be sure to keep up with your preventative and screening exams to stay ahead of any issues. Early diagnosis is key to having a positive outcome when it comes to prostate cancer.
Learn more about prostate health on Dr. Tay’s urology website.